Short Plays by…Tom Morton-Smith at the Soho Theatre

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Tom  Morton-Smith

Playwright Tom Morton-Smith’s work was featured as part of the “Short Plays By..” an event hosted by Soho Theatre and run by producer Kristopher Milnes which gives new playwrights an opportunity to showcase their best work in one evening. It’s an excellent way to discover new writing and gives actors the opportunity to perform exciting new characters.

Six of Smith ‘s pieces were performed including Odourless a piece about the disaster that can be today’s clubbing scene, Abandonment about a younger sister who pays her older sister a rare visit in the midst of family crisis, The Earthworks where a scientist and journalist have a chance encounter in Geneva and end up discussing everything from loss to physics, Foreground a play inspired by a piece of music by Grizzly Bear which captures the difficulties a couple finds itself in when they are pulled apart by work and other life commitments, Blood on the 3 for 2 Display about an offbeat love story in the back-room office of a bookshop and finishing with Touch a post-apocalyptic scenario where a group of people who have a contagious disease which is spread through touch find themselves stuck in a room together and they can’t get out.

Smith’s writing is natural and fluid. It seemed to easily roll off the actors’ tongues and into our ears as if we were all just overhearing  conversations at a cafe. The characters and their situations are also relateable as many of the shorts dealt with real-life problems that many of us have difficulty owning up to. The rawness and truth that was in his piece Foreground where the girlfriend tells her busy doctor boyfriend that sometimes she wishes he would let someone die on a stretcher just to spend more time with him is so harsh but so incredibly honest.  It is clear  that this writer understands the complexities of human relationships. His dialogue is also sophisticated as he proves in his piece The Earthworks where he delves into some pretty intriguing subject matter namely particle physics but contextualizes this chance meeting in a way that it doesn’t fly over the audience’s heads. After watching this evening of his work, I could tell Tom Morton-Smith is not the type to stay on the surface and can write about topics which are sonorous but with a comic touch as well.

There were some outstanding performances throughout the night but I’d be remiss not to make some special mentions. Sam Newman as Fritjof and Dawn Murphy as Clare in The Earthworks both demonstrated a real command of Smith’s witty and scientifically filled jargon while maintaining an authentic chemistry on stage . Director Russell Lucas did a great job in nailing down their banter so that it was superbly in synch and Murphy showed off some real comedic talent giving her monologues a well-balanced pace that made you convinced she really was a frustrated blogger/ journalist desperately trying to get her head around her difficult subject matter. Also, the duo Fliss Russell and Shane Armstrong who performed ‘Blood on the 3 for 2 Display ‘ made a great team. Russell plays the quirky bookshop clerk to perfection while Armstrong’s dorky take as her love-struck colleague without a chance made me feel so much sympathy for him. The night was filled with some great couples and to round it off I’d say Smith’s piece Foreground about the hardships of being in a relationship was performed brilliantly by Christopher Harper and Kirsten Shaw who showed a genuine connection. Very touching! 

To find out more about this special evening of Short Plays follow them on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ShortPlaysby For more information on Tom Morton-Smith  you can follow his blog at http://mortonsmith.blogspot.co.uk/


About Melissa Palleschi

Melissa Palleschi New York actress living in London and trained in Italy, New York and here in London at the Actors Studio. She is also a founding member of the Planktonic Players, who made their London debut at Camden Fringe Festival in 2012.

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